After dropping her self-released bedroom project ‘02.00 AM’ way back in 2016, Manchester newcomer Phoebe Green broke through earlier this year with her captivating debut single proper, ‘Dreaming Of’. An immediately arresting and incredibly assured step forward, it was recently followed up by ‘Easy Peeler’, a collab with The Big Moon’s Juliette Jackson that’s both vulnerable and defiant in the best take-that-you-insufferable-sods-on-Facebook way. Signed to Chess Club Records (you may have caught her on tour with label buds Sundara Karma earlier this year), it’s most definitely a sign of ‘big things’ to come.
Hey Phoebe, how’s it going? What are you up to at the mo?
Hello! Yeah, I’m dead good thanks, other than getting the single and video release ready I’ve been chilling and taking some time for myself before all the gigs start, it’s been nice.
How did you get into making music then? Which came first, a love of songwriting or a love of performing?
I think the love of performing came first, but I can remember always being really expressive as a child, and I kept a very dramatic, detailed diary from a really young age. I was very extroverted though and was constantly getting up on the kitchen table and putting on some sort of spectacle, so performing, I reckon!
Moving to Manchester must’ve helped loads, how have you found your time in the city? Is everyone there supportive?
Yeah, I love it, it’s just about big enough that it isn’t suffocating, but you seem to know the ins and outs of everybody’s successes and failures. Most people have been supportive. It’s a very eclectic scene; the majority of my friends are in really contrasting bands, and a lot of people are open to hearing new stuff, so it’s been a nice period of growing and changing in an environment that isn’t overly competitive but has given me the space to try different things and be inspired.
What led to you hooking up with Chess Club Records?
Will Street actually emailed me after discovering my album 2am on Spotify that I self-released. It’s such a cool label, and I really appreciate their support and admire the relationship they have with all of their artists. It’s been a great fit for me and where I’m at currently.
Tell us about your new single, ‘Easy Peeler’? You wrote it with Juliette from The Big Moon?
It started off as a completely different song! I turned up at Juliette’s house, and she’d recorded this really cool bassline and drum part with the twangy guitars, and the opening lyric was “In my town…”. We rolled with it, and I wrote it about Blackpool where I had many of my first experiences growing up, it was a cool song but I never really did anything with it. A few months later I’d written the lyrics to ‘Easy Peeler’ and tried it over the top of mine and Juliette’s track. It fit so well, and once I got the band involved it just sounded so good. Jules loves it too so I’m dead happy with how it ended up!
Are you a fan of collaborating? Do you have any other team-ups in the works?
I love working with people because I enjoy meeting other musicians and getting to know them in that sort of intimate setting, but because most of my songs come from a really personal place I struggle to be that vulnerable in the presence of a stranger. I’m working on it because I really do enjoy collaborating and exploring sonic ideas that I otherwise probably wouldn’t when it comes to the instrumentation and production I find it hard to vocalise my ideas sometimes, so it helps to have someone there that I click with that gets my vision. But yeah, I’m sure like a lot of other musicians writing lyrics is very much an outlet to process my thoughts and feelings, so it feels odd to do that with someone sat next to me!
What’s your songwriting process like?
Recently I’ve been writing exclusively on public transport, I feel like a lot of the time it’s because it’s the only time I get where I’m alone with my thoughts. I write lyrics on my notes and hum little voice notes, and then create a demo from there before taking it to my band and building on it. I mostly write about people and experiences, so once I start writing it isn’t as if I have to think long and hard about what I’m trying to say, it just comes. But then I find it dead hard to write when nothing particularly evocative has happened to give me the urge to.
Is there anywhere or anything you find yourself repeatedly looking to for inspiration?
I think I draw a lot of inspiration musically from seeing my friends playing and going to see new bands as often as I can, but my favourite sounds definitely come from old artists like the Beatles, Shangri Las, Bowie etc. Very cliché, I know, but I like not to be too pastiche about it but rather to take elements from past records and incorporate modern lyrics to create something more current and accessible. Then you have the familiarity and comfort of that retro sound but the relatability of the modern-day commentary.
Do you have a bucket list of things you’d like to achieve? What do you reckon’s next to be ticked off?
I’d love to sell out a few venues around the UK this year, but I really wanna do a European tour in the next couple of years, even if it’s a support slot. I’m already over the moon with supporting Swim Deep in October, they’ve honestly been one of those bands I’ve listened to for years, mum and dad were well happy, it’s one of the only CDs we have in the car that they voluntarily listen to. But yeah, more tours and festivals would be nice. And an album, obviously, which I don’t think I’m too far off.
Anything else we should know?
I’m playing Neighbourhood in Manchester on 12th October in the middle of the tour with Swim Deep. It’s a busy few months with the release as well, but I’m dead excited!
Taken from the October issue of Dork, out now.
Featuring Lauv, Swim Deep, Sports Team, Sampa The Great and more.